My Neighbors Said, 'You're Nuts!'

| August/September 1994

  • Before Restoration little engine
  • After Restoration little engine

  • Before Restoration little engine
  • After Restoration little engine

3201 Burnett Road, Suwanee, Georgia 30174

As the cold January day began, my son Jeremy and I left on a hunt to the north Georgia town of Ringgold. Our trophy would be an old railroad motor car. We soon located the motor car and its owner, but were unable to come to a price.

While on our way back home, Jeremy spotted something and yelled, 'Look Dad, a Bolens!' Turning around we drove up a driveway, tooted the horn, got out and introduced ourselves, stated our interest in that old 'lawn mower.' The owner told us about how he had acquired it several years ago. Even though he said it was for sale, we could not arrive at a price. A few weeks passed and I still had that old Bolens on my mind. Then one day, out of the blue, the owner called and said, 'If you're still interested in this tractor, I'll take your offer.' A few days later the Bolens was in my (our) possession.

The usual was in order, but I decided to tackle the 6.6 HP Kohler engine first. It needed a valve job, rings and piston cleaned, the works. The starter coil was deteriorated and beyond repair. Carb was in fair condition except for the float bowl being completely rusted away. No parts available. I pretty much set the whole project in a dark corner.

Then came the June issue of GEM. On the front cover was the same type Bolens, restored by Edwin Lemmer of Farewell, Michigan. Corresponding with Mr. Lemmer gave me little hope. Then, while at the Sand Mountain Pioneer Power Association Engine Show at Rainsville, Alabama, I saw another Bolens owned by Jim Sparks of Rainsville. Talking with Jim and looking at that beautiful old Bolens really set me reeling with enthusiasm to finish my Bolens.

' I hand-cut all the gaskets, and found that a carburetor bowl and float from an old discarded 3 HP Tecumseh was a perfect fit. Then came sand blasting and painting, new wheels for the front, all new tires and tubes, gas tank repaired etc., etc. I changed the ignition to a battery and coil. The engine runs great. Locating the appropriate belts for the Versa Drive was not immediate but finally accomplished and I am proud to show my old Bolens. Upon completion, my neighbors now have a different outlook on my abilities to make something from a pile of garbage.